Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Keep Winter Cool
So far, this has been a whirl wind of a week. As I consider myself a bit of a renaissance person with a lot of different interests, I actually wanted to explore nuclear energy because of what James Lovelock wrote in his comment in the Independent:
"Most of us are aware of some degree of warming; winters are warmer and spring comes earlier. But in the Arctic, warming is more than twice as great as here in Europe and in summertime, torrents of melt water now plunge from Greenland's kilometre-high glaciers. The complete dissolution of Greenland's icy mountains will take time, but by then the sea will have risen seven metres, enough to make uninhabitable all of the low lying coastal cities of the world, including London, Venice, Calcutta, New York and Tokyo. Even a two metre rise is enough to put most of southern Florida under water.
The floating ice of the Arctic Ocean is even more vulnerable to warming; in 30 years, its white reflecting ice, the area of the US, may become dark sea that absorbs the warmth of summer sunlight, and further hastens the end of the Greenland ice. The North Pole, goal of so many explorers, will then be no more than a point on the ocean surface.
Not only the Arctic is changing; climatologists warn a four-degree rise in temperature is enough to eliminate the vast Amazon forests in a catastrophe for their people, their biodiversity, and for the world, which would lose one of its great natural air conditioners."
In permaculture, 'permies' as we call ourselves, are interested in the integration of various systems, and the understanding, that all of those systems are related, interconnected, and mutually dependent. Change one, you change the rest. It then becomes the domino effect. In the negative it means for example that you pollute soil (replenishing, healing the soil is one of the important goals of permies), you effect healthy micro organisms, in turn effecting depletion of nutrition and disabling the organic growing environment. Hence, when Lovelock mentioned the cycle of positive feedback, which in turn amplifies the temperature and the increase in temperature would do away with the one big hepa filter the world has (Amazon rainforest), I 'saw' the cycle, and understood the urge of redressing that course that Lovelock is after by endorsing nuclear energy.
In the short time I've browsed and printed out articles and the little bit of reading I can do in between, I have noticed what a controversial subject it is. Accusations of funding towards any pro-nuclear groups, the heated debate around nuclear energy and the environmentalists who are the proponents of it.. It's dizzying. So let me put it this way; what can we all agree on?
The fact that the Arctic sea ice is melting at a greater rate than first expected is something that should alarm both the pro and anti nuclear camps;
"(For) the new study, Dr. Stroeve and others at the ice center reviewed nearly six decades of measurements by ships, airplanes and satellites estimating the maximum and minimum area of Arctic sea ice, which typically expands most in March and shrinks most in September.
With an expert from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, also in Boulder, they then compared the observed trends with the projections made for the climate panel’s review using the world’s most advanced computer models of climate.
Dr. Stroeve’s team found that since 1953 the area of sea ice in September has declined at an average rate of 7.8 percent per decade. Computer climate simulations of the same period had an average rate of ice loss of 2.5 percent per decade."
This is why I feel an urgency to figure out for myself whether I concur that nuclear energy is the best option to stop this positive feedback loop as much as we can.
Look into the system of the sea ice and how everything is connected and effected.